Demian Maia continued his impressive run in the Octagon on Saturday night, submitting much loved The Ultimate Fighter 1 veteran Nate Quarry in the first round with a rear naked choke. The win now puts Maia at 4-0 in the UFC with all four of his wins coming by the way of submission. He remains undefeated as a professional.
With the middleweight division quickly running out fresh challengers for UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, Maia has put himself on the short list for a possible title fight down the line.
Since joining the UFC in October of 2007, he has been impressive in his run. His ground game has looked absolutely perfect, using flawless technique to set up all four of his submission victories in the UFC. The only question mark surrounding Maia is how good is his striking, which is a key component to every fighter's arsenal.
He may have answered some of those questions against Jason MacDonald at UFC 87, as he showed that his striking had progressed since joining the UFC. But has it progressed to the point that it won't hinder him in fights against the class of the UFC middleweight division?
That answer didn't come on Saturday night, but he did provide another flawless display of technique that keeps Maia's streak of submission victories going strong.
"It wasn't an easy fight, but I pulled Nate in a good position for me, so I can take him down. So it made it much easier for me, but it's not an easy fight and he's a good fighter," said Maia when asked if the fight was easier than he had anticipated.
In a day and age when many fighters come up with complex strategies by dissecting hours of fight footage in preparation for a fight, it's quite rare that a fighter not have some kind of specific game plan going into a fight, but according to Maia that's not important to him.
"I don't like to have a strategy going into a fight. If he has a good right hand or a good kick or good submissions then I'll try to avoid that, but I like to be in a fight and I like to go into the fight," he said. "Even in jiu-jitsu I didn't think of pulling this guy into guard or take him down because I like to go into the fight and see what happens."
Now that he has continued his impressive run in the UFC, it is only natural that Maia be mentioned for a possible title shot against champion Silva. For the moment, talk of a title shot might be a bit premature, as UFC President DanaWhite and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva have other plans for Maia.
"Joe Silva and I were talking after the fight and we're making some moves in the 185-pound division," White said. "We're thinking of him because we think very highly of him."
With the potential of a big money fight between Silva and Maia down the line, it seems that the UFC brass would like to build Maia up a bit more and let him fine tune his striking ability before he gets a crack at Silva.
"I'd like to give Demian a couple of more fights before he fights Anderson Silva," said White.
Even if a title shot isn't quite in the cards for Maia just yet, it's obvious that he has the potential to give Silva one of his toughest challenges to date.
Remember the name. Maia is likely to stick around the top of the middleweight division for years to come with his amazing ground technique and progressing striking.